How to Watch (and bet)
Date: Sunday, 12/4/22
Tip-Off Time: 12:00 pm PT
TV: Pac-12 Networks
Location: Seattle, Washington
DraftKings Betting Line: Washington Huskies +1.5
Colorado Buffaloes 2022-23 Statistics:
Points For per Game: 72.4 (133rd)
Points Against per Game: 68.3 (134th)
Adjusted Offensive Efficiency: 106.6 (84th)
Adjusted Defensive Efficiency: 93.6 (42nd)
Strength of Schedule: 39th
Colorado’s Key Players:
G- KJ Simpson, So. 6’2, 177: 16.6 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 3.5 apg, 41.2% FG, 32.7% 3pt, 71.9% FT
I had Simpson as my pick for most improved player in the conference before the season and he’s making me look smart. He’s only playing 29 minutes per game but is one of the most ball dominant players in the country while on the court. He’s taking 6.5 3’s per game and his shooting has improved from 24% to 33% on deep shots. His assist rate is way up taking over true point guard responsibilities and you can be sure he’s going to get his while in the game.
G- Jalen Gabbidon, Sr. 6’5, 195: 7.6 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 1.6 apg, 39.1% FG, 28.6% 3pt, 65.5% FT
The transfer from Yale was the Ivy League DPOY last year and is living up to that. He’s 3rd on the team in block rate and 2nd in steal rate through their first 8 games and is their best wing defender. It shouldn’t be a surprise that his shooting stats are down quite a bit moving up in competition but he also is turning it over way less with fewer ball handling responsibilities.
F-J’Vonne Hadley, Jr. 6’6, 215: 9.7 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 1.2 apg, 52.3% FG, 71.4% FT
The JUCO transfer has been the surprise player so far for Colorado leading the team in rebounding as a 6’6 wing. He’s 36th nationally in offensive rebounding rate and has the potential to wreck UW’s zone with second chance points. He’s not a perimeter shooting threat at all though and much prefers to play as almost a small ball center.
F- Tristan da Silva, Sr. 6’9, 217: 11.9 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 0.9 apg, 49.3% FG, 33.3% 3pt, 68.2% FT
The brother of former Stanford star Oscar hasn’t quite made the leap many envisioned. He much prefers to play on the perimeter and is only shooting 1⁄3 from deep after making 48% in conference play last season. With his height though you have no chance to block his shot. Da Silva’s rebounding numbers reflect his preferred role rather than his 6’9 height as he just about never gets an offensive board.
C- Lawson Lovering, So. 7’1, 225: 3.1 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 1.1 bpg, 38.1% FG, 69.2% FT
I said before the season that Colorado needed Lovering to step up if they were to exceed expectations and he hasn’t done it. He’s the only true center on the roster and at 7’1 is shooting under 40% from the field with only 2 total dunks. That means he’s 5/15 on non-dunks in the paint and has a defensive rebounding rate equal to PJ Fuller. On the bright side for Colorado he at least has been a good shot blocker and offensive rebounder.
If you were picking the team with the most bizarre resume in the entire country right now it might be Colorado. They have arguably the best win in the nation by knocking off 6-1 Tennessee 78-66. They’ve beaten 5-2 Texas A&M by nearly 30 points. The Buffs also lost at #277 Grambling State and versus #126 Massachusetts. Then to top it off they lost on Thursday night in almost equally heartbreaking fashion to UW when ASU hit a 3-pointer while down by 2 with 3 seconds left.
Right now Washington is the walking wounded but Colorado is all about their depth. They play 10 different guys between 12 and 29 minutes per game. Boyle did the same thing last year with an extended rotation and it’s hard to know whether or not it paid off or hindered the team. It’s not a common approach as Colorado is 27th in % of minutes coming from their bench.
This isn’t a particularly good shooting Buffs team in any respect. They rank 200th or worse nationally in 2pt, 3pt, and free throw percentages. Despite that though they somehow have a top-100 adjusted offense because they get offensive rebounds, get to the free throw line, and have played a tough schedule. Javon Ruffin and Ethan Wright have come off the bench to shoot a combined 45% on 3-pointers but no one in the starting lineup is making better than 1 of every 3.
That has come back to bite the Buffs in their 2 worst losses. Against Grambling State and Massachusetts they made fewer than 25% of their 3’s on 20+ attempts. Washington is 20th in the country in 3-pt defense so far but with both their centers injured we’ll find out how much it changes what the Dawgs are able to do on that end of the court.
The good news for Washington is that this isn’t a Colorado team that is going to punish a lack of rim protection with a dominant center. Colorado only plays 2 rotation players taller than 6’8 and one of them is a 6’9 stretch big who plays like a shooting guard and the other is a 7’1 center who is as limited an offensive player I’ve ever seen at that size. I won’t be surprised if we see the Dawgs try to get away with having Keion Brooks at center for the majority of the game and have a more spread out offensive approach.
When UW has the ball this is a stingy Buffs defense. They’ve got a lot of quality defensive wings between 6’3 and 6’6 who should be able to match up well against Fuller, Bey, and Bajema. Given that Washington is prone to giant offensive droughts against any team I would expect to see plenty of that again on Sunday. If the Huskies pull this out it will have to be a low scoring affair like Colorado’s 60-59 loss on Thursday night.
With either a healthy Braxton Meah or Franck Kepnang I think this actually could be a favorable matchup for Washington. Without either one though I think there’s just not enough on the interior for the Huskies to hold up. If Keion Brooks Jr. gets into foul trouble then there’s no way for UW to keep up on the boards. Hopefully we see Brooks get the start at center with Koren Johnson moving into the starting lineup but that’s likely not going to be enough. But man would a win here be great with a trip to the Kennel looming on Friday night.
Max’s Record this Year: 5-3 Straight Up, 5-3 Against The Spread
Washington Huskies- 58, Colorado Buffaloes- 67